Wednesday, US Marines landed in Syria to launch phase one of President Donald Trump’s to force the Islamic State out of its capital, Raqqa, reports The Washington Post.
The Marines are set to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces by providing them with artillery support, and accompanying special operators from the US as they attack the city.
In order for the plan to be effective, this particular type of artillery base needs to be no more than 20 miles away from its intended target. Some Marines from the infantry accompanied the unit on the mission to provide force protection.
More than like, James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, and President Trump will lift they current US special operators cap. This cap is related to local forces working together with deployment.
The U.S. has approximately 500 special operators in the country currently. Their proposal would also include the use of U.S. attack helicopters, U.S. artillery, and increased arms sales to U.S.-backed forces.
The main recipient of U.S. aid and artillery support will likely be the Syrian Democratic Forces, an anti-ISIS force largely composed of Syrian Kurdish fighters. American reliance on Syrian Kurds will likely spark major tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, who regard the Kurdish forces as an existential threat on par with ISIS. The Kurdish forces have proven the only reliable, large-scale U.S.-backed force capable of fighting the terrorist group effectively.
New strategic plans for Raqqa are likely just a small facet of a new overall strategy to eradicate ISIS. Trump ordered a 30-day review of U.S. strategy, along with options to increase operations tempo, which the Pentagon delivered to the White House Monday.
“This plan is a political-military plan,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford told a think tank audience in late February. “The grievances of the [Syrian] civil war have to be addressed, the safety and humanitarian assistance that needs to be provided to people have to be addressed, and the multiple divergent stakeholders’ views need to be addressed.”